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The Intersection of Cryptocurrency and US Politics: A Growing Influence

Trump's NFTs mark crypto's campaign trail debut, contrasting Biden's stance amid $85M in crypto PAC donations.

By Athena Xu

5/16, 11:21 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • Donald Trump's sale of NFTs featuring his mugshot and endorsements from politicians like Ted Cruz highlight crypto's growing role in US politics.
  • Crypto PACs have raised $85 million, aiming to sway political landscapes, though experts question cryptocurrency's impact on voter behavior.
  • Amidst a volatile crypto market, political meme coins gain traction, reflecting voter sentiment and the politicization of digital assets.

Cryptocurrency in US Politics

As the US gears up for the November elections, cryptocurrency has emerged as a significant talking point among candidates, with the political landscape around digital assets becoming increasingly defined. Donald Trump has positioned himself as a pro-cryptocurrency figure, notably through the sale of NFTs featuring his mugshot, contrasting with President Joe Biden's administration, which has been critical of the crypto industry. Despite the political attention and approximately $85 million in donations to crypto-focused political action committees (PACs), experts like Lonna Atkeson from Florida State University question the impact of cryptocurrency on voter behavior, suggesting that for many, digital assets are not a priority or a basis for political decisions.

Political Engagement and Crypto

The involvement of politicians like Donald Trump, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Ted Cruz in the cryptocurrency conversation, whether through endorsements or appearances at crypto conferences, highlights the growing intersection of digital assets and political campaigning. Crypto PACs, including Stand With Crypto, Fairshake, Defend American Jobs, and Protect Progress, have collectively raised about $85 million, aiming to influence the political landscape in favor of cryptocurrency. This financial muscle was demonstrated in the California Senate primary, where crypto donors celebrated their role in Democratic Representative Katie Porter's defeat, although the extent of their impact is debated.

Voter Sentiment and Crypto Policy

Research indicates that cryptocurrency policy could influence a subset of voters, particularly in battleground states where elections are closely contested. Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association, notes the emergence of a "crypto voter" demographic, suggesting that younger candidates' interest in cryptocurrency could lead to increased political focus on digital assets. However, Dennis Kelleher of Better Markets highlights the potential voter alienation due to the association of cryptocurrencies with criminal activities, questioning the appeal of pro-crypto policies to the broader electorate.

Political Meme Coins and Market Trends

Amidst voter dissatisfaction with major-party candidates, political meme coins like $TREMP are gaining popularity, reflecting a humorous take on the political landscape. These tokens, alongside others inspired by public figures, are part of a growing "PolitiFi" niche within the cryptocurrency market. Donald Trump's recent pro-crypto remarks have further fueled interest in political meme coins, contrasting with the Biden administration's regulatory stance. Meanwhile, the broader crypto market shows volatility, with coins like Worldcoin (WLD) and Render (RNDR) experiencing significant gains, highlighting the diverse investment opportunities within the crypto space.

Street Views

  • Lonna Atkeson, Florida State University (Neutral on the impact of cryptocurrency in elections):

    "For most people, Bitcoin’s not even on their radar."

  • Dennis Kelleher, Better Markets (Skeptical about crypto's political influence):

    "It’s hard to believe that there are going to be many people who conclude that voting in favor of a bunch of criminals and predators is somehow in their interest."

  • Strahinja Savic, FRNT Financial (Bullish on crypto's role in U.S. elections):

    "We’re only going to see more crypto in this U.S. election cycle, not less."

  • Campbell Harvey, Duke University (Bullish on the significance of crypto voters):

    "If you asked this question four or eight years ago, I would have said this is a really niche space and there’s not a story here... But this time around it’s different."

  • Kristin Smith, Blockchain Association (Bullish on the influence of 'crypto voter'):

    "What we’re seeing in some swing states where the presidential election is very that when you’re looking at having just such a small number of voters change the election, the position the candidate has on crypto policy does factor in for a meaningful number of people."